A Fantastic Wedding Venue

Posted by on Nov 11, 2020 in Marriage and Epidemics, Uncategorized, Venues, Weddings | 0 comments

A Fantastic Wedding Venue

In this blog I would like to introduce you to a truly fantastic wedding venue in Staunton, Virginia.  Yes, it is possible, even in COVID times, to marry at a honest-to-goodness wedding venue—that is,  at a site more upscale than a backyard (although backyards can be wonderful, too). 

The fantastic wedding venue, built in the late 1820’s, is presently called the Blackburn Inn.  It was formerly known as the  Western State Psychiatric Hospital, which I am aware, sounds more like the setting for a horror movie. Happily, the creator and superintendent of the facility, Dr. Frances Stribling, believed in treating his patients ethically, and with great care. On this historic property there may be bats in the belfry (although it seemed well-maintained to me) but probably no dead bodies in the basement!    

 Even in its earliest days, the spot boasted lovely architecture and grounds.  The architect was Thomas Blackburn  Blackburn was a protégé of Thomas Jefferson. It is clear from just a quick first look at the property that he was deeply influenced by  TJ’s unique architectural and landscape designs.  

Personal experience

I married a couple at the Woodburn Inn just last weekend.  It was an intimate wedding with only six people in attendance besides the photographer, the couple and me.  The couple chose to exchange their vows on the circular steps leading up to the Inn’s copula.

The space they chose is intimate. And, it is decorative but in an understated way.  The bride and groom recognized that the architectural design was enough.  There were no garlands, or other floral displays.  The bridal bouquet and the groom’s boutonniere were the only embellishments—besides the bride and groom themselves, of course—a handsome couple.  The Blackburn Inn has larger spaces for larger weddings.  The largest gathering space comfortably seats 200 guests, according to Blackburn’s website. That’s a decent space for most large weddings.  See https://blackburn-inn.com/

As I said, a fantastic wedding venue.

The Town of Staunton

I can’t end this blog without mentioning the town of Staunton.  These days,  when we are supposed to keep our in-person contacts to a minimum, traveling in and about Stanton is not a great idea.  In non-COVID times, though, the town itself would be a definite draw for your wedding guests.  Stanton is the birthplace of 28th President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson’s expansive library and the Wilson Museum reside there. Go to https://www.woodrowwilson.org/ Staunton also boasts the Blackfriars Shakespeare Playhouse. https://americanshakespearecenter.com/. The theater is a replica of playhouses  in Shakespearean times, that is, with the audience close up and personal to the actors.  As the name suggests, the theater presents Shakespeare plays, but that is not the full extent of its repertoire. This Christmas the actors at the Playhouse will be performing Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Antique shops and restaurants open onto Stanton’s sidewalks.  And, it has been my experience, that parking is not an issue, if you decide to drive to the downtown area.  But why not walk?  It’s only a brisk 5 minute walk.  Strolling along Staunton’s streets is a good way to spend at least an afternoon, if not an entire day.

Within an easy drive of Staunton, your guests can hike parts of the Appalachian Trail and then refresh themselves with brews and good eats at one of the many nearby boutique breweries that dot the Shenandoah landscape. 

Again, I will say it:  The Blackburn Inn is a fantastic wedding venue.  At the very least it is worth a visit before you settle on a place to exchange your vows! 

Happy wedding planning,

Gay Lee, Wedding Preacher for Hire

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